Bids sought for new wild horse corrals

BLM also taking research proposals for fertility control

The Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for short-term holding facilities for wild horses removed from Western rangelands. Bids will be accepted until June 2 from contractors interested in operating the corrals in 17 Western and Midwestern states. Enlarge photo

Tracie Sullivan/ The Spectrum & Daily News

The Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for short-term holding facilities for wild horses removed from Western rangelands. Bids will be accepted until June 2 from contractors interested in operating the corrals in 17 Western and Midwestern states.

RENO, Nev. – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for new, short-term holding facilities for wild horses removed from Western rangelands under its ongoing program to thin what it calls overpopulated herds.

After removing horses from the range, the BLM places them in the facilities until they’re either adopted or shipped to government-funded pastures in the Midwest, where they spend the rest of their lives.

BLM officials, in a statement, said they plan to open “multiple” new short-term corrals that can each hold at least 200 mustangs.

The bureau has been under increasing pressure in recent months from Western ranchers to remove horses that they say threaten livestock and wildlife on rangelands already damaged by drought.

Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said the plans for the new facilities also come at a time when the agency already “warehouses” more mustangs off the range than remain free in the West.

She also criticized the BLM’s plans to remove horses from the range later this year in Iron and Beaver counties in Utah.

Removal of more horses from the range contradicts recommendations of an independent panel of the National Academy of Sciences released last June, she added.

In a report, the panel said the bureau should invest in widespread fertility control of the mustangs instead of spending millions to house them. It concluded the BLM’s removal of nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the past decade is probably having the opposite effect of its intention to ease ecological damage and reduce overpopulated herds.

The BLM also announced this week it’s extending the application deadline to May 28 for research proposals aimed at controlling the population growth of horses and burros that roam the West.

Roy said the agency should begin using available fertility control as identified by the National Academy of Sciences panel.